Self-employment did not evolve in the last century; it is the way people have survived and made money almost since the beginning of time. Small and microbusinesses constitute a huge percentage of American—and glob- al—businesses. When times get tough and the word “recession” emerges— in other words, they are forced to make their own. There is usually an increase in self-employment as people can’t find a job.

As words such as “layoff,” “downsize,” “capsize,” “pint-size,” and “reorgan- ize” resound around corporate walls, they all mean the same thing in plain English: “You’re fired!” “You’re redundant,” or “We aren’t hiring.” People tend to take the skills they have developed over the years to start a business, but sometimes, they are starting in a far from ideal climate. As the world constantly changes, so do the reasons for business start-ups.

The increase in technology and Internet-based businesses means that now millions of workers are telecommuting, working at home, moonlighting in a second part-time business, or struggling in their first endeavor. If you start your business for the right reasons, you are on your way to suc- cess. But some start for the wrong reasons, making it a difficult road. People starting up out of desperation risk making hasty decisions.

Some are just not suited to self-employment. Some have spent many years working for one employer, feeling stressed, unmotivated, and depressed, and view self-employ- ment as a solution to all their problems. Some find themselves needing an immediate income replacement when they are often tired and burnt-out. What they really need is a good long rest with time to research their new ven- ture thoroughly. If you are in a similar situation, please proceed with caution.

Others may not be used to decision-making after decades of working for an employer who did it all for them. Some have no time to take the necessary courses needed to expand their knowledge. The two most important steps— preparing a proper business plan and thoroughly researching the market—are often not taken, and they jump in with both feet without first checking the depth of the water.

Let’s face it, there’s no easy way to make money. Business means hard work, diligence, patience, and careful planning - like making playground equipment. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start your own business, but it does mean you must think about what lies ahead. Most important of all, consult professionals for advice. The short questionnaire in Figure 1.3 on the next page helps you deter- mine why you are starting your business. Complete it and carefully analyze why you are exploring self-employment. The first eight reasons on this list can create difficulty for you if you are thinking of starting your business to solve these problems. Be sure your reasons are the right ones and that you have the emotional stamina, sufficient financial resources, knowledge, and time that this venture requires.